All new parents experienced it. Walking into a big store with all the baby things, trying not to think how much money we are going to leave behind when all is said and done and all the “necessary” items are purchased. “Necessary” because a lot of them aren’t. Do you really need a wipe warmer? Do you really need 5 varieties of swaddlers? Do you really need that bottle warmer? Do you? The list goes on. For every aspect of your interaction with the baby there is a gadget that supposedly makes life easier. And it usually comes with a hefty price tag.
Before some assume I’m broke or that I’m cheap, please be assured I’m not. Lack of common sense and taking advantage of people are two things that always get me fired up. In this case its the taking advantage part. Especially when it comes to new parents: you have no idea what you are doing and all that during the most emotional and stressful time of your life. That’s why I protest. For those who agree, here is a bright idea. Take all the money you could have spent on those items you can absplutely do without and put it aside for your baby’s college fund or wedding or anything. It will pay off way more.
I recently went to a baby shower. And the expectant mom who comes from a very financially modest family picked what seemed to be outrageously expensive items for her registry. I don’t think she did a lot of research (just assumed the most expensive things are the best) or maybe she just went by the “my child will only have the best/most expensive” rule. Or maybe she wanted to show they are financially “ready” for a baby since they aim at the most pricey things. I’m not close with the girl, so I wouldn’t know. But it certainly unveiled an issue.
Do we feel pressure to overspend when it comes to our children? Not only in quantity of items we are willing to buy but also in the amounts of money we are willing to spend on each item? I’m positive there is a correlation and I’m positive baby brands rip the benefits.
I will agree that certain items, particularly the ones that guard our child’s life or health need to be invested in. I won’t buy a car seat at a garage sale, and I will spend extra on organic/natural produce & care products for the baby. But a lot of what is offered to buy is pretty laughable.
Some would call me cheap or maybe frugal. But here is how I look at it. So we pay this money for all these items, and what is the benefit? Making a decision to purchase, does that make us GOOD parents? And NOT buying them, BAD? My answer (everyone of course decides what is the right one for them and them only) is put your money where it will really make a difference. I spend $50 on a feeding pillow or I put $50 in her bank account or her college fund?! That’s a thought.
Here is a list of the items I found to be an absolute waste of money
1. Feeding pillow.
I breastfed for 4 months, and I have friends who breastfed for over a year. And none used it (even the ones who paid $50). First of all you can only use it at home. You can not be lugging that thing over to your parents/friends’ house and you will not take it with you when you go shopping. In the privacy of your bedroom, yes you might use it here and there, but why can’t your pillow serve the same purpose. It worked perfectly for me.
2. Bottle warmer
What happened to the microwave? Or for people who think it’s a bad idea for health reasons (I’m with you) what happened to putting the bottle in a bowl with hot water? A friend of mine, would give her kids milk straight from the fridge and they were just fine. My baby doesn’t take milk yet but even with formula, I just mix it with the water that’s room temperature. And shocker, the baby is fine. ($50 closer to her bachelor’s degree)
3. Wipe warmer
Okay, I feel guilt every time someone says wipe warmer. I thought it was sooo hysterical that a product like that actually exists that I deliberately only bought these when someone put them on a registry. It’s not nice, I know. But I felt like those people deserved it.
Of course as karma works I ended up getting one from a friend’s neighbour (who purchased for their parent who passed away before they had the chance to use it)… so here it is in our nursery. My kid was born in November right before the cold months started. Hmmm…do I give it a shot? My Russian mother was right next to me with her USE IT USE IT USE IT’S GOOD FOR THE BABY. And I resisted. I imagined how shocked my baby would be if I was changing her outside of our home where no wipe warmer was available. And said no. Guess what, the baby is fine. And here is $30 well saved.
4. Teething toys that cost over $10
What’s with everyone’s obsession with this $25 giraffe teething toy? It’s ridiculous!!! We got one from a friend (it was not on my registry), and the baby has no particular craze over it. It’s the parents that do. She prefers her $2-3-5 teething toys way more. So… $20 extra in her college fund.
5. Tubs with a thermometer
What happened to the good old let’s feel the water with my hand? Or elbow where the skin is super sensitive? Why is it that we are so freaked that the water in a tub has to be a certain temperature?!? Not sure. Here is $50 towards her degree.
6. Baby food makers & baby food storage containers (particularly plastic ones).
I prep all of my 8 month’s old food myself. Steam, blend, serve (or freeze). The amount of money I spent? $2 for 2 sets of 4 plastic storage containers from a dollar store (if you prefer glass, I understand and approve but I settled for these). How much would it cost if I purchased equipment at the baby store? $120. About $100 for the steamer/baby food blender and then about $20 for the containers. The question is why? If you cook for yourself (I can’t imagine someone who doesn’t cook taking on cooking for the baby) don’t you have a steamer? The stainless steel steamer racks that you put in a pot with boiling water? They range from $3-$25 on Amazon. And then use your fancy blender (ours is Cuisnart $34). Chances are you already have them. And they work just fine.
And to end this rant (in a way) let me just say, my baby is 8 months, and we are just starting to put her in the shopping cart when we go grocery shopping and I, of course, have been wiping the ever loving S*** off the cart but still, it made me think of the moment when I was putting my registry together and was wondering if I should put a shopping cart cover on. I maybe spent 20 seconds then, seeing the $30-$50 price tag. But now, when she actually is in the shopping cart, no cushions or anything, I was wondering, hmmm…Should I get one?! I asked my husband one night, and he just looked at me. NO I SHOULDN’T! Put this $30 towards her college fund. I’d say she will benefit much better from it! Point is, frugal that I am, but I still get those moments! Stay strong Moms & Dads!!!
P.S. With just the items I mentioned above you would save $350 towards important things, like you know…education, marriage, travelling.